How Costumes Help Characters in Movies

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Movies, whether fictional or based on true events, have the power to transport an audience to another time and place. The spectator will also infer the character's social and economic status, as well as the kind of society in which the character resided. Much of this is made possible by the use of costumes, which can be planned and changed to suit the needs of the intended plot. This paper examines the costumes shown in the photographs, paying special attention to how the use of colors, fabrics, and style promoted the ideas that the artists wanted to convey. It also looks at how effective the costumes helped to project the social status, politics of gender and the society in which the characters lived.

In the first two photos, the characters’ style and attire depicts an ancient world. The make of the clothes worn by the three ladies in the first photo differ. The first lady is wearing loose, dull, untidy clothing indicative of someone who is of lower class. The lady could be a servant. The second lady’s attire is stylish and sophisticated portraying someone of class whereas the third lady is dressed in quintessential clothing giving a picture of someone of royal class and authority. Similarly, the garments of the man in the picture paints someone of a royal status. His outfit of unique sleeved trench coat resembling grandfather clock design, distinctive necklace, and a hat give him an imperial look. He could be a king (Nadoolman 2). From the picture, all his attire from top to bottom is black in color which could mean that he is a mean and an evil person (Elliot and Maier 65).

In the second picture, the two lady characters’ costumes reflect a royal status. However, the first lady’s dress color and simple design reflects a pleasant personality. The second lady’s dress is made up of various fabrics, with red heart design on the top part of the dress. This is indicative of someone who is domineering, spiteful and egocentric. The costumes in the two photos have clearly projected a regal society where there were kings and queens. This means that women just like men had powers to rule. The costumes have also projected different social classes within this society where there are high and low class people (Trahan).

The third and fourth photos show people wearing suits indicative of the modern world. Their clothing is made up of black, grey and brown colors and one is carrying a suitcase suggesting that the people could be business people or high ranking government officials. All of them are in trench coats, a business outwears and also an attire worn by military people. All the characters are wearing trendy, fashionable outfits and this suggests that they belong to upper class in the society (Nadoolman 2). There is a gender balance as depicted in the photos since there are both male and female characters and this means that there is equality in this society.

In conclusion, costumes in films helps the viewer read into so many aspects in the characters’ life including their social status, economic status, their society and their personality. Attires help in building the characters and therefore aids in communicating a specific idea to the viewers. In doing so, the viewer is able to experience what it was like back in time when the events happened or what it would be in the future. Therefore, use of correct costumes enables the film to be understood and felt by the audience.

Works Cited

Elliot, A and M Maier. "Color psychology: effects of perceiving color on psychological functioning in humans." Annual Review of Pschology (2014).

Nadoolman, Deborah. Costume Design Defining Character. 2015. .

Trahan, Erin. Clothes That Make The Character — Exhibit Illuminates Invisible Role Costumes Play In Cinema. 23 September 2016. .

November 03, 2022

Literature Science


Movies Architecture

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